Posts Tagged ‘Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses’

The highway that almost destroyed downtown

August 4, 2010

Soho? Never would have happened. Little Italy would be turned into a pile of bricks. And block after block along Delancey, Broome, Kenmare, and Spring Street would have met the wrecking ball as well.

But luckily, none of this happened, because the proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway was met with relentless community opposition.

First proposed in 1928, LOMAX, as it was known, would have been an 8-lane elevated highway connecting the Holland Tunnel to the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges via Broome Street.

The point was to link New Jersey to Long Island faster and more efficiently. “Master builder” Robert Moses pushed hard for it the early 1960s, claiming it would create much-needed city jobs.

But residents, led by urban activist Jane Jacobs, argued that it would displace thousands of families and signal the demise of entire historic neighborhoods.

Finally, in 1969, the city officially killed the plan.